Antelope Valley Engineering Program Director Lauded

Ken Santarelli headshotKenneth Santarelli, director of the CSULB College of Engineering Antelope Valley degree-completion program, has been recognized for his work in producing mechanical and electrical engineering graduates who are ready to join the workforce.

Santarelli was presented with awards from Congressman Steve Knight, State Senator Sharon Runner, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris and Agents of Change for recruiting and graduating students in the program.

Offered in partnership with CSULB’s College of Continuing and Professional Education, the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Degree Completion Program is designed for students who are interested in completing their B.S. degree in electrical or mechanical engineering and have completed their first two years of coursework at a community college or other university.

The program is a shared commitment between CSULB, industry and government partners, and community colleges, ensuring that the region has access to high-quality, affordable engineering education while providing students access to local companies and organizations.

“I was surprised,” said Santarelli. “This kind of recognition provides a community-based vote of confidence that we have their support.”

The program was recently accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

“We’re here because industry wants a local engineering program. It’s sometimes hard to retain employees who come from outside the area. The theory is that home-grown engineers who are acclimatized to the area tend to stay,” Santarelli said.

The Antelope Valley is home to Edwards Air Force Base and Mojave Air & Space Port, as well as numerous other aerospace companies including Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin. Northrop Grumman was recently awarded a $60 billion contract to build a long-range strike bomber, which is expected to result in more than 1,000 Antelope Valley jobs.

Offered at classrooms in the Lancaster-based University Center, the CSULB degree-completion program has graduated 32 students since 2011—18 mechanical engineers and 14 electrical engineers. Current enrollment is 52. But even more impressive is the program’s 97 percent graduation rate and graduates’ 100 percent employment rate. Typically, students begin working at summer internships that turn into full-time jobs upon graduation, Santarelli said.

For more information about CSULB’s Bachelor of Science in Engineering Degree Completion Program in the Antelope Valley, visit